Poultices and compresses have been used for thousands of years as a natural healing method. Both are used for relief for burns, abscesses, skin infections, boils, and infections. They can be used for both external and internal ailments. They are not used as much in modern times because they are a bit more time-consuming as compared to herbal capsules or teapills, but they are still very effective and are a good way to end a day with some relaxation.
Be sure to consult your naturopathic doctor, physician, or herbalist before beginning a new herbal regimen. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to fill out the form at the bottom of the page.
A botanical compress, also known as a fomentation, is a clean cloth that has been dipped in a herbal solution (like a tea or tincture) and is then applied to the affected area. They can be used either hot or cold. Many people alternate using hot and cold treatments in order to get the maximum benefits from a natural herbal compress.
Types of Botanical Compresses
Different herbal compresses work well for different types of ailments. Below are some of the more common natural herbal compresses and their uses.
Chamomile Compress - Made with Chamomile Tea - Used to Soothe nervous digestion, increase circulation. Often applied to the abdominal area while alternating hot and cold treatment.
Comfrey Compress - Made with Comfrey Root - Used for Sprains.
Ginger Compress - Made with Ginger Tea - Used for Sprains, strains, inflammation, indigestion, and kidney function.
Horsetail Compress - Made with Horsetail - Used for Sprains.
Lavender Compress - Made with Lavender - Used on the onset of a headache and to relieve muscle tension.
Thyme Compress - Made with Thyme - Used for Coughs, colds, respiratory issues, phlegm, and congestion. Usually laid over the lung area to help with respiratory congestion.
A botanical poultice is defined as a moist material (usually made of herbs, pastes, and other fillers) that is applied to a sore or inflamed part of the body in order to provide relief. Natural herbal poultices can also be used for eruptions, boils, carbuncles, abscesses, and infected wounds.
How to Make a Herbal Poultice
Making a natural herbal poultice is easy! You can make them at home in minutes.
- 2-3 tablespoons of fresh or dried herbs and fillers (fillers might include clay, activated charcoal, or flour)
- Hot water
- Cheese cloth or a thin cloth for covering the affected area
- A waterproof covering to hold the poultice in place and keep the moisture and heat in (plastic wrap works fine)
Step 1: Gather your natural herbal ingredients.
Start with four ounces (4 oz.) of herbs slightly bruised. It is best for the herbs to be in a ground form.
Step 2: Turn the herb powder into a herbal paste.
Pour boiling hot water over the powder, enough hot water to make a thick paste.
Step 3: Put the herbal paste on some gauze.
Apply the paste in a layer about 1/4th inch thick on a piece of cotton cloth large enough to cover the area completely. The cloth can be gauze or a light material to ensure that the herbs can penetrate through.
Step 4: Use your natural herbal poultice.
To keep the heat in, cover with a piece of plastic. Leave it on until the herbs have cooled. Whole herbs can be used as well. Do not reuse the same poultice. Clean cloth is needed each time the problem area is addressed. The herbal poultice is to be used on an area that has been thoroughly cleaned.
Types of Botanical Poultices
Different herbal poultices work well for different types of ailments. Below are some of the more common botanical poultices and their uses.
Cabbage and Garlic Poultice - Made with mashed cabbage leaves and garlic - Used for mastitis, swelling, and inflammation.
Cayenne Poultice - Made with Cayenne pepper powder - Used for arthritis, aches, and pains.
Clay Poultice - Made with Clay - Used for splinters, infections. These clay packs are great for drawing splinters to the surface for easy removal.
Comfrey Poultice - Made with Comfrey Root - Used for Strains, sprains, broken bones. This is often applied above and below a cast to help with the healing of broken bones.
Onion Poultice - Made with sauteed onions - Illness, coughing, congestion. This poultice is applied to the bottoms of the feet and then covered with socks. It can also be applied to the chest to help with respiratory issues.
Plantain Poultice - Made with chewed up plantain leaves - Used for Insect stings and bites. The chewed plantain leaves are often applied directly to the sting or bite area for substantial relief.
Salt Poultice - Made with Magnesium or epsom salts, baking soda - Used for infection and abscesses.
Turmeric Poultice - Made with Turmeric Root and Milk - Used for Boils and infections.
Yarrow Poultice - Mashed Yarrow Root - Used for rashes and minor wounds.
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